Junior guard Alexander Aka Gorski and sophomore forward Jordan Naughton had career nights each adding 20 points in the Cowboys 88-49 win over Western State on Friday evening in the Arena-Auditorium. Wyoming head coach Allen Edwards earned his first career win at the helm of the Cowboys, as the Pokes have won seven-straight season openers.
“Getting your first win on your first time out is pretty special,” Edwards said. “At the same time, we’re building on what we’re trying to create and I’m excited about that.”
Aka Gorski finished the night with a career-high five three pointers during his 20 point night. Naughton was just as impressive going a perfect 9-of-9 from the field to go along with 14 rebounds for his first career double-double.
“Naughton has been really good, in practice as well,” Edwards said. “He brings a different aspect to what we’ve got within our team. Right now, I think we have an inside-outside attack. When we throw it down to him, we’re confident that he can score, but if he gets doubled we feel that we have the guys around him to knock down the open shots.”
The Pokes shot 52 percent (31-of-60) from the field and 44 percent from the three point line going 14-of-32. The Cowboy defense was aggressive holding the Mountaineers to 31 percent (18-of-59) from the field and 27 percent (6-of-22) from the three point line.
Wyoming shared the ball well on the night with 21 total assists. The Pokes also owned the boards outrebounding the Mountaineers 46-31. The Pokes scored 30 points in the paint with the UW bench adding 27 points.
The Pokes led by 26 at the half, 49-23. Wyoming went on a 26-6 run in the final seven minutes of the half. The Cowboys dominated in the paint and from behind the arc in the opening frame. The Pokes scored 18 points in the paint with a dominate performance by Naughton. He had a double-double in the opening frame with 12 points and 11 boards.
Wyoming was 9-of-19 from behind the arc for 47 percent in the first half. Aka Gorski was lethal from behind the arc with four triples in the half. Senior Jason McManamen added two three-pointers in the frame on three attempts.
The second half saw the Pokes score 39 points, while holding Western State to 26. The Pokes closed out the game outscoring Western State, 25-9. In a balanced effort that saw 13 UW players see action in the game. 11 of the 13 recorded at least two points on the night.
Junior forward Hayden Dalton finished the night in double-figures adding 10 points. He tied a career-high with two three pointers. McManamen finished with nine points. He has 126 career three pointers one shy of cracking the top-10 in career triples at UW. Junior guard Jeremy Lieberman added eight points. Junior forward Alan Herndon added seven boards for UW.
Western State was led by guard Brady Subert. He finished with 11 points going 5-of-8 from the field.
The Cowboys return to action on Monday evening head to Missoula, Mont. to face the Montana Grizzlies. Tip off for UW’s first road tilt is set for 7 p.m. MT.